Fiat + Chrysler = ?
Automobile and Car and Driver also test vehicles and take pictures of them at the proving grounds, paying around $200 an hour for the privilege. Chrysler won't confirm any of the outsiders that use the proving grounds, nor would it allow the Community Observer to visit. But Markus and others say they see a variety of vendors coming in to test cars and automotive components. Among them are Mitsubishi-which has a longstanding relationship with Chrysler-and automotive suppliers such as Kelsey-Hayes and Johnson Controls.
"They have state-of-the art tracks. It's perfect," says Don Sherman, technical editor for Automobile.
Chrysler uses the proving grounds for many purposes. "It runs the gamut from crash testing to mileage accumulation to safety performance," says Sherman, "every thing that's required of a modern car to suit government requirements and customer needs. It's a critical tool for any carmaker to have a facility like that."
The proving grounds also has an 11,000-square-foot wind tunnel to test aerodynamics, air conditioning, and wind noise, plus an impact test building where cars are slammed into barriers to see how well they protect their passengers.